Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, with a population of 1,092,330, according to the office for national statistics. It is growing all the time, and, most notably, grew by 88,400 people between the 2001 and 2011 census, which was the largest increase in population of any local authority in the country.

At the forefront of worldwide advances in science and technology during the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham’s modern economy is dominated by the service sector, which accounted for around 88% of the city’s employment in 2012. Overall, Birmingham had a GDP of $121.1 billion in 2014 and two FTSE 100 companies have their corporate headquarters within Birmingham, with two more based in the wider metropolitan area. This forms the largest concentration of FTSE 100 companies outside of London and the South East. Birmingham also attracts 42% of the UK’s total conference and exhibition trade, which is mainly accounted for because it is home to the National Exhibition Centre and the International Convention Centre. Birmingham also famously boasts major industrial plants such as Jaguar Land Rover in Castle Bromwich and Cadbury in Bournville, with large local producers also supporting a supply chain of precision-based small manufacturers and craft industries.

Birmingham’s City Council is the largest local authority in Europe, with 120 councillors representing 40 wards. It has a very diverse religious profile, representing the largest Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist communities outside of London, with 46.1% of the population identifying themselves as Christians. Having at least one cathedral has historically been cited as a requirement for a settlement in the UK being defined as a city, and Birmingham has three- St Philip’s Cathedral, St Chad’s and the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew. Despite having more inequality than any other city in the UK, Birmingham was placed 51st in the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey.

Birmingham has many notable music venues such as The National Indoor Arena, which was opened in 1991, the 02 Academy on Bristol Street, which opened in September 2009, The CBSO Centre, opened in 1997, the HMV Institute in Digbeth and the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Symphony Hall is home to the internationally renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and there are many other notable professional orchestras based in the city. It is as diverse in its musical output as its religious beliefs, producing artists as varied as Duran Duran, Ozzy Osbourne and The Streets.

Here is a short list of useful local websites related to the city of Birmingham:

Links to tile and stone retailers in Birmingham: